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View from around the state: Science says wind power safe

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health has reviewed more than 150 scientific and medical reports related to wind turbines and public health.

Division staff have listened and responded to concerns about wind turbines from the public, municipal leaders and local health officers. The division has sought the expertise of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and health departments in states with heavier reliance on wind energy.

So what did the Wisconsin Division of Public Health determine from all of that careful inspection?

“We conclude that current scientific evidence is not sufficient to support a conclusion that contemporary wind turbines cause adverse health outcomes in those living at distances consistent with current draft rules being considered by the Public Service Commission,” wrote Dr. Seth Foldy, state health officer and administrator, in a July 19 letter to wind farm critics who claim all manner of ailments from wind turbine noise, vibrations and shadow flicker as the sun sets behind turbines.

Dr. Jevon McFadden, an epidemiologic intelligence service officer with the CDC, offered similar reassurance in May to the Wisconsin Wind Siting Council that he serves on.

“Evidence does not support the conclusion that wind turbines cause or are associated with adverse health outcomes,” McFadden wrote in his presentation.

The council, representing diverse interests, just submitted a final report to the Public Service Commission recommending uniform standards for siting small wind farms. The new rules would replace a hodgepodge of local restrictions that, in some cases, make siting wind turbines all but impossible.

The PSC already has uniform rules for siting big wind farms.

Adopting a set of reasonable standards for smaller wind farms — without caving to the overwrought fears of alarmists — is now needed to encourage more production of this clean, home-grown and safe source of energy.

— From the Wisconsin State Journal, Aug. 17.

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